Burn Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Pros: There are some tense moments; climax Cons: poor script and strange development of the main character; predictability “Playing with Fire” / Burn

Genre thriller
Directed by Mike Gunn
Starring Tilda Cobham-Hervey (Melinda), Suki Waterhouse (Sheila), Josh Hutcherson (Billy), Shiloh Fernandez (Perry), Harry Shum (Officer Liu), Winter-Lee Holland (Daryl), etc.
Компании Yale Productions, Hopscotch Pictures, Film Mode Entertainment
Year of release 2019
IMDb website

From time to time, film companies make films that take place in the same location. As a rule, these are psychological thrillers with a constant number of characters who gradually go crazy from a certain situation.

This format can be an excellent option for a debut in a big movie. The director does not need to spend large budgets on filming, and there is no need to worry about extras and the versatility of the background. But even the most simplistic task can be failed by a simple scenario. This is exactly what happened with director Mike Gan, who decided to film the story he had invented. Before that, Gan directed one of the episodes of the horror series “Into the Dark,” but this experience was not enough for working in a feature film.


The film “Playing with Fire” takes place at night at a roadside gas station. A sympathetic and slightly shy girl named Melinda works there. She can be too flexible, so sometimes she agrees to do someone else’s work and cannot always withstand attacks from her colleague Sheila. There is something strange about Melinda that other people usually don’t notice. And this is not modesty at all. Sometimes she secretly takes photographs of a policeman who enters the store while on duty, and deliberately burns her hands with hot coffee. One day, during Melinda and Sheila’s shift, a man comes into the gas station and demands to give him the contents of the cash register. He is being pursued, so the criminal wants to take the money and get away as quickly as possible. The story could have ended there, but Melinda suddenly begins to help the stranger and expresses a desire to leave with him.

At its core, this is a story about Melinda’s character, who has so many unresolved problems and desires that under certain circumstances she can become dangerous to others. Almost immediately (the director does this in the opening scene) it becomes clear that Playing with Fire is a film where the victim will change the rules of the game.


Apparently, the film was conceived as a thriller in which the tension increases every minute. Alas, in fact, an alarming atmosphere appears towards the end of “Playing with Fire”, when all the plot threads are gradually woven together and predictably do not bode well for those who find themselves at the gas station.

Before the climax comes into play, the script surprises with drawn-out dialogues that are truly very boring to listen to. The writer-director also tries in every possible way to shock with the behavior of the central character, sometimes going too far. Instead of developing Melinda’s character, the filmmaker gives her even more weirdness. The result is a repulsive spectacle with unpleasant moments that still cannot remain in the memory for a long time due to their emptiness, as well as the fact that the viewer with any range of interests has certainly seen better low-budget films.

Probably, Josh Hutcherson, who, along with Jennifer Lawrence, played leading roles in all parts of The Hunger Games, should have attracted people to watch the film. In the new thriller, he was seen as a robber who made a big mistake with his choice of gas station (in the same way, Hutcherson made a mistake with his choice of film).


The character of the arrogant Sheila went to Suki Waterhouse, who previously appeared in the films Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Jonathan.

And the main mystery of the film, Melinda, was played by Tilda Cobham-Hervey, who starred in the film Hotel Mumbai. The actress tried to portray a modest, frightening and repulsive character at the same time. And it might have worked if the film had a better script.

Sometimes stupid films appear on the big screens, which, in principle, can be watched simply to take a break. But there must be something in them that can hold attention. “Playing with Fire” copes with this task rather superficially, becoming interesting only in the last scenes. In general, the picture is very predictable and unremarkable.


a thriller that’s hardly worth going to the cinema for

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